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Amsterdam is well-known for its bustling districts, lively café culture and world-class...
So, you’ve already spent an afternoon in the iconic Rijksmuseum, cycled along the pretty canals and marvelled at the Van Gogh Museum. Luckily, Amsterdam has just as much to offer on your second (even third and fourth) visit.
Read on to discover our alternative guide to this charming and vibrant city, from galleries you might not have visited, to hidden culinary gems.
You might think taking a city break means you sacrifice exploring open green spaces. Not so in Amsterdam: close to the city centre you’ll find the tranquil Amsterdamse Bos, a landscape park that feels a million miles away from the busy main streets of Amsterdam. Fill your lungs with fresh air as you take a gentle walk through the woods, or go canoeing in the lake and admire the outdoor artwork. You might even be lucky enough to catch one of the 250 events Amsterdamse Bos hosts throughout the year.
If you’re still seeking your culture fix but have already been to MOCA and the Hermitage, head to the quirky Fluorescent Art Museum – also known as Electric Ladyland, after the Jimi Hendrix album of the same name. It’s the first museum in the world to celebrate fluorescent art and provides a truly immersive and interactive experience with frequent demonstrations. Electric Ladyland is located right in the centre of the city, so is easy to find.
There’s so much to do at this repurposed, 19th century gas works facility in Amsterdam’s Westerpark area. Catch a film at the arthouse cinema, go to a concert at one of the complex’s many music venues or grab a bit to eat at an ultra-hip restaurant. Spend an evening here at Mossel & Gin, which specialises in, you guessed it, mussels and gin. Or, you can sample over 70 types of wine (perhaps not all at once) at the Wester Wijnfabriek, and even blend your own variety.
REM Eiland truly is dining with a difference. This restaurant is housed in what was once an offshore platform, used to broadcast the illegal station “TV Noordzee”. You’ll find it propped up on stilts in the sea at Houthaven Harbour. You can access the restaurant by a short jetty, and enjoy an atmospheric dinner at the top, with views over the city and sea. Tuck into dishes which celebrate local produce, such as fresh octopus served with passionfruit gel, baked plaice with earthy pumpkin chutney and veal cheeks with truffle potato.
Speaking of food – if you’re looking for somewhere a little unusual for breakfast, why not try the Pancake Boat (Pannenkoekenboot)? You’ll be treated to an unlimited amount of pancakes, Dutch-style, accompanied by your choice of syrup and fresh fruit. The boat begins its journey in the northern docklands, before travelling through the harbour for a total of 75 minutes. We reckon pancakes taste their best when accompanied by views of Amsterdam’s spectacular gabled houses. On a warm day, soak in the sun on the top deck.
The EYE Film Museum (regularly referred to as simple “the eye”) occupies one of the city’s most unusual and striking buildings, located on the banks of the river. The museum showcases the cinematic history of the Netherlands, with regular film-making exhibitions, a cinema and historic items key to the development of the modern film industry. The museum opened in 2012, and since then, its angular, postmodern shape has dominated the area.
Believe it or not, Amsterdam is home to a floating cat sanctuary: Poezenboot. This sanctuary has taken in strays and abandoned felines for over forty years, and is permanently located in the Singel Canal in the centre of the city. You’ll see the cats prowling around the lower deck, where they have free reign to do as they please. You can walk around the boat and pet the cats. Support the sanctuary by picking up some merchandise – such as T-shirts, posters and bags – in the gift shop.
Amsterdam itinerary filling up? Make your city break plans a reality on one of our Northern Europe cruises.
Athens is packed full of world-class galleries as well as outdoor sculptures and art boutiques. Find out more here.
Amsterdam is well-known for its bustling districts, lively café culture and world-class museums. However, look a little closer and you’ll discover relaxing attractions, from spas to green parks.
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